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TEXT. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all un
godliness, and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in
unrighteousness. 19 Because that, which may be known of God, is manifest in them;
for God hath showed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world,
are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,
PARAPHRASE. 18 faith. And it is no more than need, that the gos
pel, wherein the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, is revealed, should be preached to you gentiles, since the wrath of God is now revealed * from heaven, by Jesus Christ, against all ungodli.
ness † and unrighteousness of men t, who live not 19 up to the light that God has given them . Be
cause God, in a clear manifestation of himself amongst them, has laid before them, ever since the
creation of the world, his divine nature and eter20 nal power; So that what is to be known, of his in
not by works, but by faith alone. Vid. Gal. iii. Il, which clears this interpretation. The same figure of speaking St. Paul uses, in other places, to the same purpose; ch. vi. 19, “ Servants to iniquity unto iniquity;" j. e. wholly to iniquity; 2 Cor. iii. 18, “ From glory to glory," j. e. wholly glorious.
18* “ Now revealed.” Vid. Acts xvii. 30, 31, “ God now commandetli “ all men, every where, to repent, because he hath appointed a day, in which “ he will judge the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath or“ dained.” These words of St. Paul to the athenians, give light to these here to the romans. A life again after death, and a day of judgment, wherein men should be all bronght to receive sentence, according to what they had done, and be punished for their inisdeeds, was what was before unknown, and was brought to light, by the revelation of the gospel from heaven, 2 Tim. i. 10, Matt. xiii. 40, &c. Luke xiii. 27, and, Rom. ii. 5, he calls the day of judgment the day of wrath, consonant to his saying here, the wrath of God is revealed.
t 'Acébevæv, “ ungodliness," seems to comprehend the atheisin, pulytheism, and idolatry of the heathen world, as áðixidy, “ unrighteousness,” their other miscarriages and vicious lives, according to which, they are distinctly threatened by St. Paul, in the following verses. The same appropriation of these words, I think, may be observed in other parts of this epistle.
I “ Of men,” i. e, of all men, or as in the xviith of Acts, before cited, “ all men, every where,” i.e. all men of all nations : before it was only to the children of Israel, that obedience and transgression were declared and proposed, as terms of life and death.
§ “ Who hold the truth in unrighteousness, i.e. who are not wholly without the truth, but yet do not follow what they have of it, but live contrary to that truth they do know, or neglect to know what they inight. This is evident from the next words, and for the same reason of God's wrath, given, chap. ii. 8, in these words, “ who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,"
TEXT. even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without
excuse. 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as
God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagina
tions, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools : 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image,
made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
PARAPHRASE. visible being, might be clearly discovered and understood, from the visible beauty, order, and operations, observable in the constitution and parts of the universe, by all those, that would cast their regards,
and apply their minds * that way: insomuch that 21 they are utterly without excuse: For that, when the
Deity was so plainly discovered to them, yet they glorified him not, as was suitable to the excellency of his divine nature : nor did they, with due thankfulness, acknowledge him as the author of their being, and the giver of all the good they enjoyed : but, following the vain fancies of their own vain +
minds, set up to themselves fictitious no-gods, and 22 their foolish understandings were darkened. As
suming to themselves the opinion and name of 23 being wise, they becaine fools; And, quitting the
incomprehensible majesty and glory of the eternal,
NOTES. 20,* St. Paul says, youevo xalopātai, if they are ininded they are seen: the invisible things of God lie within the reach and discovery of men's reason and understandings, but yet they must exercise their faculties and einploy their minds about them.
21 + 'Epalaswano xv av Tcãs do adoylouos aútwv, “ became vain in their imaginait tions," or reasonings. What it is to become vain in the scripture language, one may see in these words," and they followed vanity, and became “ vain, and went after the heathen, and inade to themselves molten images, and “ worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal,” 2 Kings xvii. 15, 16. And accordingly the forsaking of idolatry, and the worship of false gods, is called by St. Paul, “ turning from vanity to the living God," Acts xiv. 15.
22 [ páo XOVTES elvou oopol, “ professing themselves to be wise;" though the nations of the heathen generally thought themselves wise, in the religion they embraced ; yet the apostle here, having all along in this and the following chapters used greeks for gentiles, he may be thought to have an eye to the greeks, among whom the men of study and enquiry had assumed to themselves the name of copol, wise,
TEXT. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the
lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between
themselves : 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lye, and worshipped and
served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for
ever. Amen, 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even
their women did change the natural use into that which is against
nature: 27 And likewise also the nien, leaving the natural use of the wo
man, burned in their lust, one toward another, men with men, working that which is unsèemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their errour, which was meet.
PARAPHRASE. incorruptible Deity, set up to themselves the images
of corruptible men, birds, beasts, and insects, as fit 24 objects of their adoration and worship. Where
fore, they having forsaken God, he also left them to the lusts of their own hearts, and that uncleanness
their darkened hearts led them into, to dishonour 25 their bodies among themselves : Who so much de
bạsed themselves, as to change the true God, who made them, for a lye * of their own making, worshipping and serving the creature, and things even of a lower rank than themselves, more than the Creator,
who is God over all, blessed for evermore, Amen. 26 (For this cause God gave them up to shameful and
infamous lusts and passions, for even their women
did change their natural use, into that which is 27 against nature : And likewise, their men, leaving
also the natural use of the women, burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men practising that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves a fit reward of their errour, i. e. idolatry t.)
NOTES. 25 * The false and fictitious gods of the heathen are very fitly called, in the scriptore, « lyes,” Amos ii. 4, Jer. xyi. 19, 20.
27 + " Errour," so idolatry is called, 2 Pet. ii. 18. As they, against the light of nature, debased and dishonoured God, by their idolatry, it was a just and fit recompence they received, in being left to debase and dishonour them. selves by unnatural lusts.
TEXT. 28 And, even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things
which are not convenient: 29 Being filled with all uprighteousness, fornication, wickedness,
covetousness, maliciousness ; full of envy, murder, debate, de
ceit, malignity, whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors
of evil things, disobedient to parents,
PARAPHRASE. 28 And *, as they did not search out + God, whom they
had in the world, so as to have him with a due acknowledgment of him, God gave them up to an
unsearching and unjudicious § mind, to do things 29 incongruous, and not meet || to be done; Being
filled with all manner of iniquity, fornication, wick
edness, covetousness, malice, full of envy, contention, 30 deceit, malignity even to murder, Backbiters, haters
of God, insulters of men, proud, boasters, inventors of new arts of debauchery, disobedient to parents,
NOTES. 28 * " And." This copulative joins this verse to the 25th, so that the apos. tle will be better understood, if all between be looked on as a parenthesis, this being a continuation of what he was there saying, or rather a repetition of it in short, which led him into the thread of his discourse.
+ 'Ouxe é Soxíua o av, “ did not like,” rather did not try, or search; for the Greek word signifies to search, and find out by searching ; so St. Paul often uses it, chap. ii, 18, and xii. 2, comparell, and xiv. 22, Eph. v. 10.
I 'Ey tryvoel, with acknowledgment. That the gentiles were not wholly without the knowledge of God in the world, St. Paul tells us, in this very chapter, but they did not acknowledge him, as they ought, ver. 21. They had God slzov poy, but sx édoxina o av özelv &utdy év alyvuosi, did not so improve that knowledge, as to acknowledge, or honour him as they ought. This verse seems, in other words, to express the same that is said, ver. 21.
§ Eis ášóxipcv võv, “to a reprobate mind,” rather to an upsearching mind, in the sense of St. Paul, who often uses compounds and derivatives in the sense, wherein, a little before, he used the primitive words, though a little varying from the precise Greek idiom: an example whereof we have, in this very word ãdóximos, 2 Cor. xiii. where having, ver. 3, used Soxsur, for a proof of his mission by supernatural gifts, he uses adóxquos for one that was destitute of such proofs. So here he tells the romans, that, the gentiles not exercising their minds to search out the truth, and form their judgments right, God left them to an unsearching, unjudicious mind.
Non explorantibus permisit inentem non exploratricem. || A discourse like this of St. Paul here, wherein idolatry is made the cause of the enormous crimes and profligate lives, men run into, may be read, Wisdom, xiv, 11, &c.
TEXT. 31 Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural
affection, implacable, unmerciful; 32 Who knowing the judgment of God (that they which commit
such things are worthy of death) not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
PARAPHRASE. 31 Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without 32 natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who,
though they acknowledge the rule of right* prescribed them by God, and discovered by the light of nature, did not yet understand † that those, who did such things, were worthy of death, do $ not only do them themselves, but live well together, without any mark of
NOTES. 32 * To Esxalupce ToŰ MECŨ, “ the judgment of God ;” might it not be translated, the rectitude of God, i. e. that rule of rectitude which God had given to maukind, in giving them reason ? as that righteousness, which God requires, for salvation, in the gospel, is called “ the righteousness of God,” ver. 17. Rectitude, in the translation, being used in this appropriated sense, as orxaiwua is in the original. Vid. note, chap. ii. 26.
+ Oủx évóng av Öto did not understand that they who coinmit, &c. This reading is justified by the Clermont, and another ancient ms, as well as by that, which the old Latin version followed, as well as Clement, Isidore, and Occuinevius? and will, probably, be thought the more genuine by those who can hardly suppose that St. Paul should affirm, that the gentile world did know, that he, who offended against any of the directions of this natural rule of recti. tude, taught, or discoverable by the light of reason, was worthy of death, especially if we remember what he says, chap. v. 13, “ That sin is not im«• 'vuted when there is no positive law," and chap. vii. 9, “ I was alive willi" out the law, once :” both which places signifying, that men did not know death to be the wages of sin, in general, but by the declaration of a positive law.
I Luveudoxomor toīs apácorol, “ have pleasure in those that do them.” He that considers, that the design of the apostle here, manifest in the immediately following words, is to combat the aniinosity of the jews against the gentiles ; and that there could not be a more effectual way to shume them into a more modest and mild tem jer, than by showing them that the gentiles, in all the darkness that blinded them, and the extravagancies they ran into, were never guilty of such an absurdity as this, to censure and separate from others, and show an implacable aversion to them, for what they themselves were equally guilty of. He, I say, that considers this, will be easily persuaded to understand OUVEudoxão. bere as I do, for a complacency, that avoided censuring or breaking with them, who were in the same state and course of life with themselves, that did nothing amiss, but what they themselves were equally guilty of. There can be nothing clearer than that ouveudoxă on, have pleasure, in this verse, is opposed to xpivers, judgest, in the next verse, without which I do not see how it is possible to make out the inference, which the apostle draws here,